Two international organized crime groups worked together to smuggle large volumes of drugs into the GTA, including cocaine that was hidden in the textile shipments, says Ontario Provincial Police.

Twenty-two people have been charged and nearly $ 10 million in illegal drugs was seized in the police operation, dubbed Project Southam, police said.

The arrests have far-reaching ramifications, they added.

“Project Southam has shown the amount of commodities and illegal activities these organized crime groups are involved in, from cocaine to cannabis, and other crimes, including phishing and mortgage fraud,” said OPP Deputy Commissioner Chuck Cox, in a statement.

“The tentacles of organized crime are spreading through our province, our country and other countries,” Cox said.

“We know that violence follows organized crime,” said Brian Bigras, deputy chief of investigations for the York Regional Police in a prepared statement.

“Where there is illicit income, there is often violence to protect that income,” Bigras said.

The group working in the Caribbean also conspired to export illicit cannabis from Canada to the United States, police said.

The operation involved officers from the OPP, York Regional Police, RCMP and the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

About 92 kilograms of cocaine were seized after police executed 44 search warrants at 25 locations in Toronto, Innisfil, Mississauga, Oakville, Vaughan, Thornhill, Brampton and Ancaster, as well as businesses in Etobicoke, Vaughan, Hamilton and Mississauga. .

In addition to the cocaine, the police announced that they seized one kilogram of methamphetamine; 249 kilograms of illicit cannabis, hundreds of bags of illicit cannabis edibles, and 56 grams of hashish; 1.3 kilograms of psilocybin; 21 liters of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB); 255 grams of ketamine; 255 grams of MDMA; 980 oxycodone pills; one kilogram of a cutting agent; a 9mm pistol; a silver bar, valued at about $ 2,600; $ 372,020 in Canadian currency; $ 7,620 in US currency; a cryptocurrency wallet; and seven vehicles.

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